CENTRAL JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. – For years, local television and radio stations have periodically tested the Emergency Alert System with familiar tones followed by “This is a test…,” but on Wednesday, Nov. 9, for the first time ever, a nationwide test of the alert system will take place. While the Emergency Alert System is often used by state and local emergency managers for weather warnings, it has never been used or tested at a national level.
“In a major disaster that affects large areas, such as an earthquake, this system could be used to broadcast life-saving information very quickly,” said Todd Farley, Emergency Manager for the Central Jackson County Emergency Management Agency. “This test will ensure that the system will work as intended if a nationwide alert needs to be issued.”
At 1 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 9, radio stations, local television stations, wireline video services, and cable and satellite providers in the Kansas City metropolitan area will join other broadcasters across the country for a simultaneous test of the system. Although the test will be similar to the routine monthly tests most of us are familiar with, there are a few key differences:
• The nationwide test will last longer than normal — approximately three minutes.
• While the audio message will include the words “This is a test” and be the same for everyone, the video test may vary due to differing technologies. Viewers should be aware that the video messages may or may not include the words “This is a test” in the background image or scroll at the bottom of the screen.
• The test will be conducted through broadcast media only — it will not include NOAA weather radios, mobile devices or outdoor warning sirens.
The nationwide Emergency Alert System test will be conducted jointly by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Communications Commission and National Weather Service. These agencies selected the date, Nov. 9, because it is near the end of hurricane season and before the severe winter weather season begins. The time (1 p.m. CST) was selected to occur during working hours in time zones across the nation, minimizing disruption by avoiding traffic rush hours.
“The best time to prepare for a disaster is before it happens,” said Farley. “While the alert system can provide basic instructions during an emergency, we all need to take personal responsibility to make sure we’re ready.”
For more information on how you can prepare your family, visit Metropolitan Emergency Managers Committee’s website at www.preparemetrokc.org. This site has preparedness tips for various types of disasters, as well as an online tool for creating a family plan.
For more information about the nationwide Emergency Alert System test, visit www.fcc.gov/guides/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test-eas.
The CJCEMA is an emergency management agency consisting of the Central Jackson County FireProtection District, the City of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, LakeTapawingo and surrounding unincorporated areas. The EOC is located at the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District’s Training Facility and brings together representatives from Police, Fire, Public Works and Emergency Management agencies.
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